The Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, has met representatives of 62-odd prominent private hospitals or chains and urged them to start undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses. The Centre is also willing to make relaxations on issues like land or seat requirements.

The move comes even as the Health Ministry decides to increase medical seat counts in the country and also stop a possible outflow of Indian students overseas to study medicine.

Rules in India require those who have studied medicine abroad to pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in order to be eligible to practise medicine here.

Of the 62-odd private hospitals and chains that met with the minister, some 15-20-have already expressed a desire to start undergraduate and graduate level medical courses at the earliest, and this would add some 1,500 to 2,000 seats.

“I am hopeful that at least 15–20 of them will start with some seats this year. I am personally in favour of training our doctors here in India rather than in a foreign country,” Mandaviya said on Monday.

Union Health Ministry officials said it was also pushing for various charity hospitals to set up medical colleges.

Keeping fees affordable

Officials said that specific requests were made to “keep fees affordable” while “the quality of education imparted would be closely monitored by the Ministry too”.

Way back in 2016, the Health Ministry scrapped a non-profit clause in eligibility rules for medical colleges, hoping to see more private participation in the segment. Some prominent hospital chains have studies or courses in specific specialties, though. But, at the undergraduate level, the response of large chains or hospitals has been below expectations.